TBT: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Throwback Thursday: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

We’re throwin’ it back to 1989 this time, with a look at the original On-Demand CDs. Back then, CD-ROM was the latest and coolest technology — and quite revolutionary.

What were some of the features causing this “revolution in the automotive industry”? Well, for starters, the discs made it possible for the first time to access repair data digitally, not in printed books.

As our marketing brochure at the time said, “Instead of using multiple manuals with countless indexes, On-Demand gives you virtually everything Mitchell publishes in one convenient location.” Those original discs contained 40,000 pages of data and 50,000 illustrations — staggeringly large and impressive numbers at the time.

The original On-Demand CD kit

The system interface used a light pen (remember, this was in the early mouse days). The pen sensed a beam of light coming out of the screen. When you pressed the pen on the screen, the tip retracted, operating a switch to tell the computer which choice you made. As you moved the pen around the menus, the choices would light up in color. The result was the same as if you pressed a key on the keyboard. The light pen thing may make us chuckle now, but was actually VERY cool in its day. No keyboard skills were required to operate the system!


The super cool light pen came with the system

And to highlight the state of technology at the time, here are some of the original On-Demand system requirements:

  • PS/2 Model 30 PC, Minimum of 400KB of RAM
  • Hard disk drive with at least 5 MB of free space available
  • 5.25” (1.2 MB) or 3.5” (1.44 MB) floppy diskette drive

Those compact discs were just the first digital baby step in the evolution of or Mitchell 1’s automotive repair information. To put things in perspective, here’s a glimpse at some of the content and features we’ve got today in ProDemand:

  • Tens of millions of pages of repair data
  • Millions of graphics
  • Many hundreds of thousands of TSBs & recalls
  • Over 14 million Real Fixes in SureTrack based on actual repairs
  • Tens of millions of common replaced parts graphs that guide techs to the most likely diagnosis
  • Library of known-good waveforms and PID graphs
  • Interactive community of thousands of professional technicians

We’ve definitely come a very long way since 1989, but what hasn’t changed since those early On-Demand days is our effort to innovate and continuously improve the way we deliver repair information to help techs repair cars faster.

Read previous Throwback Thursday posts:

Posted in:
About the Author

Jill Schafer

Jill Schafer is the Marketing Communication Manager at Mitchell 1 and has over 20 years of marketing experience with high-technology organizations, including over 10 years in the automotive information industry.